I’ve always felt held back by the people I’ve dated in the past. I think a lot of my relationships ended abruptly, they left me without closure.
Because sometimes I ended things fast because I wasn’t ready for anything serious. And sometimes I was strung along without any explanation at all and then left for dead after the break up.
I tried my best to not let those things affect me, but they always have. Those things put my love life in slow motion. When I finally found someone I wanted to date, I had to make all the first moves because when someone else did it I’d get scared and run away. It took a while to make things official, to even convince myself this was 100% what I wanted.
And even now as we live together I get so many pangs of not knowing what I want in life.
Recently I’ve heard that one of my exes has moved on…I don’t keep tabs on them at all because the more distance I put between me and them helped me feel better. But the news made me realize I’m ready to move on too.
You know when you hear about an ex getting engaged, married, having kids and you just feel mad? I used to feel that way a lot. Like I’m the one who put so much time and effort into you only for you to crush me and use your brand new self on someone so much less deserving than me. Yeah, I was bitter.
But after this recent news, a lot of things became much more clear to me. I don’t care about my exes. I don’t care about them one bit. I still think of them from time to time, but it’s almost like hearing my ex moved on set me straight. A lot of my doubts have faded and I’ve finally cut the strings my exes tied to me.
No one wants to get hurt. No one wants to put their heart on the line when there’s a possibility of it getting smashed. Unanimously, we can all agree that we do not want our hearts broken.
But when it comes to breaking someone else’s heart, there is so much less thought put into it. We are so concerned with protecting ourselves that we forget that there are other people who matter.
And while most people fear getting hurt, I fear hurting someone. I think I’ve felt heartbreak hard enough that it doesn’t bother me anymore. I put my love slowly into situations, I’ve learned how to escape without any cuts or bruises. But the thought of emotionally hurting someone else is terrifying to me. I don’t just tip toe into relationships for myself, but I do it for my partner.
Because if you’ve ever been on the giving side of a break up, you know that it sucks. You never wanted to let someone down. You feel like you’re letting yourself down.
So when the next possibility of a relationship arrives, you don’t want to let them down either. You keep your guard up, in hopes that they’ll keep their guard up too. Because if you don’t let them in all the way, maybe you won’t disappoint them. Maybe you won’t emotionally hurt them, too.
To the point where you would rather feel heartbreak all over again than feel yourself breaking someone’s heart. Getting hurt is never fun, but hurting someone else is a whole other feeling.
My ex taught me that it’s okay to leave some people behind, that there are always new people to meet. My ex taught me what it’s like to motivate someone and how to let someone motivate you. He taught me that I could prove people wrong. He taught me how to defy expectations.
My ex taught me how to love someone. He taught me how to care for another person more than I care for myself. He taught me how to communicate and how to listen.
My ex taught me that I’m stronger than I ever knew. He taught me that you should never let one person hold you back from living out your dreams. That you should never let anyone else dictate your life. That there are people willing to pick up your pieces, even if you didn’t treat them right in the first place. He taught me that there is so much more to the world.
And my ex taught me how to be broken. And how to recover from that brokenness. He taught me how to be completely miserable, sad, and useless. Then he taught me how to move on from that feeling. He taught me how to grow and learn on my own.
Though the ways I learned these lessons were painful, they were necessary. Because now I’m better. Now I’m moving on. And the positively reinforced lessons, as well as the negatively reinforced ones, made me who I am today.
Someone who can stand on her own.
I won’t thank you for what you taught me about myself – but one day I think I’ll thank myself. For pushing forward, despite all the odds.
My relationship was so consuming it was completely holding me back from forming complete and amazing friendships.
2. Learning how to recover from a life changing event
It’s not easy and it wasn’t pretty, but I am a stronger person because of it and I know the next life changing event will be a little easier because of it.
3. Reconnecting with my family
Once again, my relationship was so time consuming that the time I spent with my family was also usually spent with my boyfriend.
4. The opportunity to be wild and free
I had the excuse of just being dumped to go crazy and do what I want to get it all out of my system and get me to the point of being level headed and happy.
5. Growing my career
My career path was always confusing and stifled when I was in a relationship because I was going to have to be where he was and do something with hours to accomadate him.
6. Growing my hobbies
I basically didn’t have hobbies in my relationships that didn’t include my boyfriend. I’ve learned new things and started this blog which is amazing in itself.
7. Realizing what is and is not healthy
Suffocating relationships are not healthy. Weekly pizza dates are not healthy. Skipping the gym because your boyfriend says you look fine is not healthy. I am an overall more fit and healthy person now.
8. The mini relationships I had since the big break up
Sure, most of them didn’t end so well. But I’ve had the chance to meet amazing people, form great bonds, and learn more about what I need from a partner.
9. Saving money
Like you would not believe how much money I have to spend on myself, to treat my friends, and spoil my family with ever since I became single.
10. Finding who I am
My relationships blinded me and I couldn’t separate myself from them. I am healthy, happy, strong, and able now. I never could have said that before.
In your first relationship, every milestone is so exciting. When you get a “good morning” text from him your heart will thump. When he asks you to be his girlfriend you’re left speechless. When he tells you he loves you your face will flush bright red. Everything will cause a beautiful spark of emotion.
But sometimes after that first relationship ends, the thought of dating again brings dread instead of joy.
When someone gives you their number you get anxiety. When they kiss you for the first time it fees like they could be kissing anyone like the way they kiss you. When they tell you they want a relationship you get scared straight and run away. You fear and hate the thought of someone being your boyfriend again. The thought of love does not excite you, it terrifies you.
I know in some sort of way, love is supposed to be terrifying. You’re basically giving yourself to another person and putting all your trust and your life in their hands. But even after you think you’re ready for someone new, after you are soooo over the initial heartbreak from your first relationship – you still can’t seem to give in. You still can’t get past that dread.
I grew up as a creative child. I loved to read and I loved to listen to music. The fiction I indulged in made me a hopeless romantic. I dreamed of fatal attraction and star crossed lovers. When I thought I found someone of my own I jumped on it. I sank my teeth into the relationship and let it consume me. So much so that when it ended, there was really nothing left of me.
I started over from scratch and even when I found myself, I couldn’t find anyone else. I’m not sure if I’m destined to be alone or all of the romantic parts of me just turned bitter and cold. With no reversal in sight.
I’m often told that it will all work out when I “meet the right person.” I’m severely starting to hate that phrase because it seems like for most people, finding their prince charming wasn’t as hard as it is for me.
So, I’m not sure if the feeling of dread will pass when you meet the right person. But I do know it’s okay to be alone. And it’s okay you haven’t jumped into another relationship yet – even if your ex has.
If you’re really dreading dating, maybe you just need to put yourself outside of your comfort zone. Try taking it so slow – basically at a snail’s pace. Don’t sacrifice your alone time but don’t close yourself off. Always be open to something new, but also be aware of your feelings. Dating is scary and it sucks, my only advice is to give it a shot.